Russian President Vladimir Putin said that U.S. President Donald Trump was impeached over allegations concerning Ukraine that were “made up.”
While Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on Dec. 18, he is expected to be acquitted by the GOP-held Senate, Putin noted to reporters in Moscow on Thursday.
“You’re asking the question as if it’s [Trump’s presidency] coming to an end, and I’m not sure about this. It needs to go through the Senate where the Republicans have a majority as far as I know and it’s unlikely that they would like to remove a representative of their party from power for, in my opinion, fabricated reasons,” Putin told reporters, according to a translation from Reuters.
“It’s just the continuation of the internal political conflict and the party that lost the election, the Democratic Party, is trying to get the results by other means and are accusing Trump of collusion with Russia, then it turns out that there was no collusion and that this cannot be the basis for impeachment. Now they’re trying to pressure him through Ukraine, which is made up,” he added.
For years, Democrat lawmakers and numerous media analysts and reporters alleged that Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. However, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, which investigated the allegations, concluded in the spring that there was no evidence of conspiracy or cooperation between Trump or his campaign and Russian actors, though Mueller’s team did find evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
Several months later, the opposition party started impeachment proceedings based on a July phone call Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, focusing on how Trump asked his counterpart to “look into” former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son Hunter Biden, who was being paid tens of thousands of dollars a month as a board member of Ukrainian gas giant Burisma.
Trump noted in the call that Joe Biden, while still vice president in 2016, pressured Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was probing Burisma by threatening to withhold $1 billion in aid, and had been recorded bragging about it in 2018.
Both Bidens have denied wrongdoing. Hunter Biden stepped down from the board of Burisma in April.
Trump was impeached by House Democrats for abusing his office and obstructing Congress. No Republican voted in favor of impeachment, and a two Democrats broke ranks to join Republicans in opposition, while one voted “present.” Trump has repeatedly said he did nothing wrong, lambasting the effort as a “sham” and a “Witch Hunt.”
Because removing Trump from office would require a two-thirds vote of the Senators present, it’s widely expected the GOP-held body will acquit the president next month. No president in history has been impeached and convicted, or removed from office. The last president to be impeached, Bill Clinton, was acquitted in 1999.